Art looks to enlighten all summer long

Enlightenment has struck in Seton Hall University’s Walsh Gallery with curator/artist Darren Jones’ new exhibition “Thunder Enlightening- Rituals, Then/Now.”

Jones’ latest exhibition compares human nature with historical and ritualistic objects to their contemporary counterparts. His previous exhibitions at Seton Hall include “Linear Thinking” (2012), “Windows@Walsh5.0” (2012) and “Untitled” (2013). Familiar with Seton Hall’s Catholic mission, Jones’ exhibition deals with matters of faith in present day society.

The gallery’s curator Jeanne Brasile explained the importance of each exhibition presented at Seton Hall University.

“‘Thunder Enlightening’ is a significant exhibition in that Jones is presenting a series of time-honored spiritual values and asks how they may be implicated in the present day,” Brasile said. “It reflects Seton Hall’s Catholic mission and the University’s call to build a life that is faithful to the past, while being open to the future.”

According to the description of the exhibit’s objects, the exhibit compares commonplace objects used in a college student’s daily routine to objects tied to past religious rituals. It also states that the dramatic changes in culture in secular societies are highlighted with a protein blender bottle compared to a religious chalice, sweatshirts to religious clothing and detailed books to a Mac Computer.

“Each of the tableaus functions in the tradition of momento mori, the medieval painting convention which reflects on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the fleeting nature of earthly goods and pursuits,” Brasile said. “Momento mori were filled with symbols that emphasized Heaven, Hell and salvation of the soul in the afterlife.  I tend to see an exhibition as a whole organism, with each individual piece contributing to the overall theme.”

According to Brasile, this is an opportunity for reflection as the exhibit does not take a stance, but merely shows the present day difficulties society faces.

“In this instance, Jones is offering a series of tableaus that present some of the challenges of contemporary living and posits the ways that faith can help us navigate the difficulties presented by our fast-paced world,” Brasile said. “I think Seton Hall students are receptive and eager to see exhibitions that reflect Catholic values.”

Brasile reflected on Jones’ own interest in showing the exhibition in the hopes of creating reflection on the core ideas the exhibition explores, as well as a call to action for individuals to examine their own spirituality in contemporary life.

The exhibition is open Monday, June 1 to July 16 on Mondays through Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Stephanie Gomulka can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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